Day 23: Fonfria to Portomarin (a new record)

My night was little restless again and not helped by rubber coated mattresses that made me sweat. Well, at least no bed bugs or so. As team Belgium 2 (Jorge & Matthias) got ready to go around 5ish, I decided to get up too. So stuff packed up, refreshed & go.

When I left the hostel, the guys were still outside having breakfast and playing with a white cat. Their mission today was a 52km march to portomarin. Mine was a much less ambitious 40km – enough to get me to Santiago by about Tuesday.

 

800 year old sweet chestnut

The hike started rather mysterious. It was still dark and One had to look carefully to stay on the right path. Nonetheless it was beautiful to walk under a blazing full moon and above the fog that covered the entire valley (remember our starting point was 1300m altitude). Really amazing.

At 7.30 it was time for the first breakfast. Coffee and an as usual supersized pain-o-chocolate! They are really monstrous over here (same for croissants). As we continued to walk downhill we got an extra wake up call as a dog decided to chase us. Good I have my gandalf walking stick!

Daylight revealed the full beauty of Galicia once more. Green landscape everywhere, forests and romantic (and mostly tiny) villages. By lunchtime we arrived in Sarria. This is the usual starting point for compostella tourists (mostly spanish) that only hike the last 100km just to obtain a certificate (and stick it as key achievement into their CV ;o). I got some cash (finally a bank), said bye go team Belgium 2 and had lunch. Pasta & caprese salad (though of poor quality as so often with foreign good in Spain).

After lunch the heat picked up. No clouds to cover this time. Thanks god the walk still took me through shaded areas, but there was a distinct lack of fountains. Some stage I actually run out of water and no fountain or bar was to be found … Until that tiny bar where two Belgians were relaxing over two beers to celebrate having less than 100km to go to Santiago.

We had some food and I joined them on their way to portomarin. Didn’t feel too tired and legs still working. So I got my first (and probably only) 52km march done too.

To get to portomarin one has to cross a long bridge. Nice views from there, but given we approached 8.30pm it was rather time to find a hostel. 14hours was enough walking for a day.

The hostel was nice, we had some great food together and my best night sleep yet on the whole camino. Only 93km left to Santiago. Should be there Tuesday morning!

Physical update: no doubt I have been losing down weight. Some from beer belly, but also muscles. You just can’t eat as much as you burn (100 calories per 1km walking). Otherwise feeling pretty good.

View from Portomarin bridge

Guelane update: stayed c4km before sarria and is hence about 25km behind me. Best guess is he will arrive a day after me on Wednesday. I shall be waiting with a cold drink for him! His leg has improved.

111km (+3km) to go ;o)

 

Message board near ‘donativo’

 

 

Mathias likes animals

 

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